The first time I met Amy’s grandfather, Virgil, was Christmas of 2012.
It was a memorable holiday for me: It was my first trip to Michigan, my first time meeting her dad’s side of the family and the first Christmas Amy and I spent together. On top of that, I planned to ask her dad for permission to marry his daughter.
But despite all of that, Virgil managed to steal the show.
The family was celebrating Christmas Day at Amy’s grandparent’s home in Royal Oak, in the house Amy’s father, aunts and uncle had grown up in. Amy and her grandfather were close, having celebrated their just-days-apart birthdays together from the time my wife was a small child. She fondly referred to him, as many of the grandkids did, as “Papa.”
As several of us were buzzing around the kitchen, Papa Virgil shuffled in, grabbing some cranberry juice out of the fridge. As he was shuffling back out, something important occurred to him. He turned, tapped me on the shoulder, and said:
“Cranberry juice … good for your prostate.”
“Thanks,” I said, a little stunned. This was admittedly surprising advice to get from someone I met just twenty-four hours ago.
He turned again, off to pour his prostate elixir, but realized he had more to add.
“… and boxers, not briefs. And pumpkin seeds for making babies.”
“Good to know,” I responded, holding back hysterical laughter. Upon explaining what happened to Amy, my now-wife—trying to contain her own hysterics—kicked me out of the kitchen.
Amy’s grandfather passed just a few weeks before our wedding in October of the following year. We had a chance to visit with him in May at her her cousin’s wedding … but those words are truly what I have to remember him by.
So, pumpkin seeds hold a near and dear place in my heart. When I got the opportunity to write about sprouting this month and heard these tasty (and clearly helpful!) seeds were an option, I jumped at the chance.
I’d never really understood the whole “sprouting thing”, but better appreciate the process after reading Sarah’s how-to post. I now know they pack an even meaner punch when sprouted, which as it turns out, is pretty easy with pumpkin seeds.
Start by filling a large (quart sized) mason jar a third of the way with raw, hulled pumpkin seeds. Fill the rest of the jar with warm, FILTERED water and a 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt. Replace the solid middle part of the mason jar’s lid with mesh (Amy has these awesome Sprout-Ease lids made for sprouting!) or cheesecloth and screw it back on. You can also use a bowl and transfer them to a jar later, as shown here. Let them soak for 8 hours (basically, overnight).
The next morning, pour the water out and replace it with fresh water. Swap the mesh (or cheesecloth) out for the solid lid and shake the seeds to rinse them. Replace the solid metal part of the lid with your mesh and dump water. Now invert that jar at an angle so air can circulate and the water can really really drain out. I used a glass bowl. Allow to sit in the light (though not direct sunlight), repeating the rinsing process at least twice a day.
In about 3 days, the sprouts should be ready. Rinse them well and store them in a jar in the fridge, though it’s best to enjoy them—or use them—right away.
Besides eating pumpkin seeds by the handful … what can you do with them—especially sprouted? You can doctor them up as a snack, as this article at ThisIsSoGood.com suggests. You can also add them to salads or soups. For me, I’m going to try them in a Cheddar-Corn-Pumpkin Seed Muffin recipe, like this one found on Epicurious.com.
Now, I don’t know if transforming your sprouted pumpkin seeds will help with baby making as science suggests, but it can’t hurt to try!